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Motherhood, Olive

Why New Parents Are So Obsessed With Sleep

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Never talk to a new parent, for we are an obnoxious sort of people, full of anxiety and milestones and percentiles and pediatrician’s advice.

But if for some reason you are unable to avoid it, if you have a new parent for a friend or relative or co-worker,, you may have noticed that it takes approximately 2.85 minutes for the conversation to veer around to how their baby is sleeping.

If they are sleeping, when they are sleeping, where they are sleeping, how they are sleeping, and the all-time favorite, WHY WON’T THEY SLEEP?

There are many reasons for this obsession, and I think this is one of those things I never really understood (not in the truest, nitty grittiest of ways that you can really understand something, anyway) until I found myself here, on the other side.

So here is a list, which is meant to function both as an explanation and an apology to anyone who has had a longer-than-two-minutes conversation with me anytime in the last eight and three-quarter months.

Why New Parents Are So Obsessed With Sleep

  1. Because, in the beginning, it’s all babies do. Beyond discussing their physical appearance (cute!) and their poops (horrifying!) babies don’t offer up much in the way of conversation topics other than sleep. So for the first few weeks or months, literally 90% of your day is spent breastfeeding or putting your baby to sleep. (The other 10% is divvied up as follows: 9% spent talking about breastfeeding or putting your baby to sleep, and the remaining 1% on personal care, cooking, dishes, laundry, and pretending to be a real life human being. Obviously.)

  2. Because you asked. You in the grocery store line up. And you, co-worker who I have done no more than nod to whenever I passed you in the hallway for the past three years. And you, anxious-eyed old friend trying to evaluate just how hellish this experience really is, anyways. You asked. So we answered. And then we somehow forgot to shut up about it for the next four years. Sorry.

  3. Because WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU BABY AREN’T YOU TIRED FROM THE SCREAMING AND THE POOPING AND ALL OF THE BEING SO EDIBLY CUTE? SLEEEEEEEP DAMMIT.

  4. Because it affects every single aspect of a new parents life and that is not exaggerating even one tiny bit. If baby isn’t sleeping, ain’t nobody sleeping. And if you’re not sleeping, you are crazy. There’s just no way around it. Being woken up every two hours (or four hours or any increment of hours less than eight jesus christ) is just unsustainable in the worst, bleary-eyed, sharp-tongued, mountains of coffee and takeout pizza way. You are tired, and worse than that, your BABY is tired. Yes, him. THE ONE THAT WON’T SLEEP. Which brings me to point 5:

  5. Because it doesn’t make any sense! The baby is exhausted. Clearly, objectively, exhausted. This is a FACT. Rubbing their eyes, yawning, getting cranky, all of those clear-cut 100% positive, 0% chance of error, indications that baby is t-i-r-e-d. But they won’t sleep. They don’t want to be rocked or held or walked or swung or nursed or put down (oh god, definitely not put down) but what they don’t want most of all is to sleep. Because they are insane. And talking about this insanity with other human people is incredibly reassuring.

  6. Because you might have the answer. Every time a new parent tells someone about their sleep habits, (Ja-ahydein wakes up at 7 and then naps at 9 but only sleeps 20 minutes before he starts crying and if I get to him quick enough I can rock him and he’ll nap a little longer but if I don’t he’s up and grumpy and then naps again at 11 and we miss our baby zumba class!), they are hoping you have the answer.What answer? We have no idea. Some magik or witchcraft or top-secret method, or maybe you had a child JUST LIKE Ja-ahydein and you somehow stumbled across the cure for short naps and night-wakings and you have been standing there just WAITING for us to ask, so you could share your wisdom! This is the most hoped for outcome, I think.

    Next time a new parent talks about their baby’s sleep, look deep into their eyes and you will see it. That longing, that questioning stare asking, Do you have the solution? TELL MEEEEEEE.

  7. Because they don’t want to let their baby cry it out. In the past I have written about how I am not a fan of crying it out, and I realized after the fact that I may have offended some parents who were using that method, so this is an important one for me to write. Because here’s the thing: no one wants to do CIO.

    No one wakes up one day and thinks, “Hey! Look at this adorable chubby baby for whom I longed and dreamt and spent nine months waiting on the edge of my seat. Look at this child who gives me big gummy smiles and drooly open-mouthed kisses and thinks that I am the centre of the universe. Look at this perfect little being. I think that today I will let him cry alone in his crib for ten or twenty minutes- maybe even an hour! You know, just for fun.”

    No matter how against CIO you are (and I am against it in the “It doesn’t work for us, but if it works for you then rock on, mama” way), I think we can agree that no one wants to do it.CIO is the last resort of the sleep deprived parent. The parent that can’t physically drink any more coffee than she already is. The parent that cries at the drop of a hat because she’s emotionally exhausted and falls asleep standing up and has leg-hair longer than her husband. The parent that has tried everything else, I swear, everything! and just. needs. some. sleep.

    This parent doesn’t need articles or studies or mommybloggers shaming them, they need sleep. On this issue, like all other parenting issues that quickly devolve into the so-called “Mommy Wars”, we have to trust that they know what they are doing. We have to trust that other parents are just like us, because other parents ARE us, and we are them and they have tried anything and everything else, and have decided that this is the best thing for their babies and for themselves.

    So sometimes when a new parent talks about sleep, they just want to be told that they are doing their best. Even if their best ends up being something you don’t agree with. Because they might not agree with it either, but it’s the only thing that’s working.

  8. Because they want, nay NEED to fix it. Because of the tiredness, you see. And the crazy. Oh, so much crazy. Do you know what I did a few weeks ago? I constructed an elaborate excel spreadsheet to track Olive’s sleep schedule. As I may have mentioned, her former sleeping-for-ten-hours-straight schtick is long gone, and we suspect that it may have been a ruse, a trick, a trap to make us love her. And dammit it worked and now here we are, stuck with a no-sleeping baby like a couple of CHUMPS.

    Well played, Olive, well played.

    Anyway, this spreadsheet had spaces for when she woke up in the morning and when she went down for her naps, when she woke up from her naps and when she went to sleep at night. And then, in a column the most scribbled and messy and chaotic of all (being as it was often filled in with a broken eyeliner pencil at 3 a.m.) a space to write down if (HA!) and when she woke up during the night.

    Do you know what I called this endeavor? CRAZY. And do you know what all of that qualitative data would have looked like after I analyzed it? This:

    Ok so the first day she woke at 10 then slept at noon and again at four with bedtime at 10 for total of 14 sleep hours but then on the 7th she slept a total of 16 hours because she had a third nap but look on the 15th she ALSO had a third nap what were the phases of the moon during those days and did I look at coffee on the first day let’s correlate the two statistically significant events with the lunar tides and Gus’ bowel movements oh my god…oh my god I’ve got it! The answer to everything! No wait. Forgot to carry the one. Shit.

    There was no rhyme or reason to it. Two days could look exactly the same and one night she’d sleep through the night and the next she would wake six times. Days where naps were the same time and durations had bedtimes that varied +/- three hours. It was chaos. But I spent an embarrassingly long time studying that spreadsheet because it was all I had. And I was going to figure it out if it killed me!

    (I did not figure it out. She is clearly an aberration. A statistical anomaly. A one-in-a-million sometimes-shitty-sleeping-but-always-wonderful, beautiful little outlier. Also known as a normal baby. Because babies do not sleep. Because they are insane.)

  9. Because it makes them feel like failures. Every book touting an easy-peasy solution to baby sleep, every friend who can pop their child into their crib where they fall asleep on their own and sleep for twelve straight hours, and every person offering helpful solutions that worked like magic but they have tried, I swear they have tried! makes a new parent feel like a failure.The thought process goes something like this:

    If I was a good mom she would sleep better. If I stopped nursing to sleep she would sleep better. If I breastfed she would sleep better. If I stopped co-sleeping she would sleep better. If I started co-sleeping she would sleep better. If I played with her more during the day she would sleep better. If she was less over-stimulated she would sleep better. If I stopped drinking coffee or started taking more iron or swaddled her or rocked her or stopped rocking her or let her cry it out, she would sleep better.

    Everyone else’s baby sleeps better. I’m doing it wrong. I’m a bad mom.

    I am doing it wrong.

So I know that all the talk about sleep can seem ridiculous and boring and like, seriously! the kid will sleep when she sleeps! get over it! (<—actual thing I have thought to myself when discussing this topic BC [before child]) it is important.

It is important because it affects how a parent functions, and how a baby functions, and how happy and sane they both are during their waking hours. It is important because sometimes as a new parent you feel like your whole life is spent putting the baby to sleep or waiting for the baby to wake up and it can be frustrating.

And it is important because although we know babies don’t sleep – I mean, we all know that right? Babies are notorious for not sleeping! – it is different when you are in it. And when you are in it, this sleep-deprived state of stained clothing and nothing but two hour stretches as far as the eye can see, you just want to be out of it but the only way out is time because eventually everyone sleeps.

And in the meantime, we talk.

Thank you, world, for listening.

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Everything I know about parenting I learned from the Internet

I have approached the daunting task of parenting and raising a human being from infant to adulthood without somehow irrevocably damaging their physical, emotional, or psycho-social development like I approach everything in my life, which is to say, with a lot of research and reading and crowd-sourcing of opinions and experiences. 

I have been meaning to write a big post on all of it, but instead I will be lazy and compile it into a bullet-point list. 

BEHOLD, the various things that I found interesting/have kept me sane/I find useful:

  • Your baby is not manipulating you when he cries to be picked up. Researchers have determined that infants have an innate physiological calming response to being picked up – it lowers heart rates and physically soothes them – it’s not a choice or a preference, it’s a physical fact. Babies cry to be picked up because it calms them down, they aren’t sneaky little demons who cry just for the pleasure of seeing you do their bidding. Trust. 
  • Parenting: You’re doing it wrong.  At least that’s what I learned reading this amazing book, How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: and other adventures in parenting around the world (from Argentine to Tanzania and everywhere in between) by Mei-Ling Hopgood. Seriously, this book was fantastic because it taught me that there is no universal standard of what makes a “good” parent. Argentinian kids go to bed at 10pm, some Italian parents think we are cruel to make our children sleep in seperate beds or even separate rooms, in Mongolia it’s common to breastfeed until children are seven or eight and breastmilk is seen as somewhat of a delicacy.

    Whatever you are doing – extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, free range kids, disposable diapers, baby led weaning whatever, there is probably a culture that has done this since day one, and also one that thinks you are cruel and unusual for doing so. You can’t win! But you also always win! Because there is no “right” and “wrong”!  DO YOU FEEL THAT? IT’S THE YOKE OF JUDGEMENT BEING LIFTED FROM YOUR WEARY SHOULDERS!

    This book really helped me when I was struggling with whether or not I was crazy for nursing Olive to sleep, and not letting her cry by herself in her crib. 

  • Get yourself some mom friends.  Whether they’re in an online birth club (usually organized around babies all born in the same month), an organized get together of other moms in your town through a local health unit, or even just a smattering of similarly sleep-deprived ladies you see blearily sipping coffee at the park. GET YOURSELF SOME MOM FRIENDS. Otherwise your views on parenting and babies will be severely distorted by all of the “experts”…you know, the books that say your baby should be doing x by now, or the tv shows that say you should be doing y…by talking to other moms you gain some much needed perspective.

    You will notice that little Kaden is still waking up every hour, and Marissa’s mom feeds her food from a jar and it’s not even organic (GASP!), and The Steve showed up in pajamas because his mom just couldn’t be bothered to wrestle him into an outfit with five different parts today (” A onesie, pants, socks, jacket AND hat? Eff that!” she said with devil-may-care abandon)

    Other moms, who are right there in the trenches with you, are absolutely invaluable. They won’t judge you for anything, and will confess, in a voice half-scared, half-jubilant, “I broke down and had two glasses of wine last night and then she slept for eight hours straight…is that bad? Or genius?”

  • You don’t stop being a parent at night. I have been repeating this to myself lately because Olive’s sleep has kind of gone for shit. Sleep training is tempting (I mean seriously, how awesome would it be to just be able to put her in a crib and walk away, and have her fall asleep?!), but I just feel deep in my bones that it’s not okay to let a baby cry by herself. For any length of time. I know this is a personal choice, but I really think we have gone off the rails as a society with this one.

    I don’t think she would understand why, I do think it causes damage, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone into her room in response to her cries only to find that she has a huge burp, or her leg is caught in the crib, or she’s soaking wet. Babies need their mamas (or Papas. Whatever.)  

    Olive has gone through these periods of crappy sleep before and it usually reflects a growth spurt, or mastering new skills, or a shift in shedule, and she gets over it on her own and in the meantime, as she wakes up for the umpteenth time between 4-8am I remind myself that I don’t stop being a parent at night. 

    I wouldn’t let her cry alone during the day, I would go to her and pick her up and comfort her, why wouldn’t I do that at night, too?

  • People are lying liars. No one can remember the first six months of their kids lives accurately. It’s only been a few months and already that period is a thick fog for me. It goes by so quickly, and changes so fast that I often think I remember something, only to go back and find that wasn’t the case at all, or it only happened once, or I was dreaming it. Don’t trust anyone’s recollections, or “When so-and-so was two months he was…” BLAH. 
    No one remembers. It’s a guess, at best, so take everything mom’s say about the first six months with a large grain of salt. (And maybe a few glasses of wine?)

  • Early potty training is not as crazy as it sounds. I am surprised at how well it is going, and how easy it is. Since Olive started rolling over back to front we have moved her changing pad to storage with the rest of her baby stuff, and do most of our diaper changes in the bathroom where her potty is. 

    She gets changed when she wakes up and before she goes to sleep (for both naps and bedtime) and we put her on the potty at the same time. She always goes first thing in the morning, and usually a few times throughout the day, too. In the beginning it felt like it was accidental – we would sit there until something happened – but lately she goes as soon as she sits there, which makes me think she is starting to get it. We also haven’t changed a poopy diaper in weeks, which is hella-awesome. 

    We have this potty, and it’s super comfortable for her and basically everything is A+.

  • If you are planning on cloth diapering, do so from day 1. Many parents plan to start with disposables, then go to cloth when they have the hang of the whole trying-to-keep-baby-alive thing. I think this dooms people to fail, for several reasons, the most important being that if you never regularly use disposables, you won’t know what you’re missing.

    I am a huge fan of cloth diapers and we use them 100% of the time when we are at home, but we have also used disposables when we visit places with no laundry facilities. Having used both, I can’t deny that cloth diapering is more work- you MUST do laundry at least every second day, plus you need to change baby more (no weird moisture absorbing gel)- and there can be a steep learning curve (choosing diapers, assembling them, figuring out how to wash and store and strip them).  If you are used to disposables, this will all seem overwhelming and you’ll probably go back to disposables. BUT, if you have always used cloth, all of this will just be the norm and the times when you do use disposables will just seem like a nice little break.

    Plus figuring them out and getting used to everything will be way easier if done in the newborn days, which seems counterintuitive until you realize that in those first few weeks you’ll probably be inundated with helpers in the form of moms and aunties and friends. Use them, people. USE THEM.

  • This diaper bag is awesome. It’s probably only worth about half of what you pay, and the wet bag and change pad are a joke, but I love the look of it, and it once seemed gigantic but I often find it stuffed to the brim with diapers and blankets and toys and a change of clothing…it’s surprising how much of it I fill. I have gotten approximately ninety-seven compliments on it, and the little clutch it comes with has been awesome because I don’t have to lug around my purse PLUS a diaper bag. Thank you to my siblings and siblings-in-law for gifting me with this. I never would have bought it for myself but I absolutely adore it.
  • The Ergo. THE ERGO. Adam and I agree that this was the best baby purchase we ever made (we searched high and low before buying it for $70 secondhand). I loved having Olive close to us and we used it exclusively for her first six months. We have a stroller now, but I still find myself reaching for the ergo, it’s convenient, comfortable and easier in many situations than maneuvering a stroller all over the place. 
  • Just when you think you’ve figured them out, they change. This is the truest thing ever said in the history of ever. I literally wrote a post last week being all “OMG Olive finally has a schedule I didn’t do anything she made it herself but it’s been consistent for a few weeks now my days are predictable I can plan my life everything is perfect!”. I ran out of time to finish writing it, saved it in my drafts and guess what? It is STILL THERE because I kid you not, THAT NIGHT Olive changed everything up.

    Guys, it’s like she knew.

  •  This motherhood thing is the shit. Every cliche is true, every song is right- guys, sometimes I watch her sleep and cry a little.

    Her smile is the best thing in the world, I could listen to her laugh for days. My whole world revolves around whether or not she is warm enough. I am a mom, guys. I AM A MOM. 

    And it’s unequivocally the best. thing. ever. 
     

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How Much Does a New Baby Cost?

       8×10 Print by PixelCloud on Etsy

It took Adam and I a long time to decide to have a baby. I mean, we always knew we wanted children, but making the choice to actually DO it was hard, really hard.

I am the most indecisive person ever. And I over think everything. Needless to say, choosing to bring a child into this world, our world, wasn’t something I took lightly and initially, (as is the case with many people, I suspect) we were waiting for the “right” time.

What would this mythical state, this perfect conflagration of factors look like? Well, I figured we would have to sell Adam’s business. We would also have to own our own home, naturally. And of course, we would have to have moved close by my mom because I couldn’t fathom becoming a mother myself without having my own mother arms reach away.

We would have to have all our debts paid off, with money in the bank, and finally, we would have had to have traveled the world to our heart’s content, checked off all of our must-see people and places before making this most monumental of decisions to Settle Down.

At the time, when I thought about this list, it seemed rational. Logical. It seemed like the smart thing to do- get everything tidily squared away, wrap up all of the loose ends on one chapter of our lives before embarking on the next.

It complicated matters that we couldn’t just accidentally “get pregnant”. One of the medications I take for my kidney condition is incompatible with pregnancy, and my nephrologist advised me that I would have to stop taking it at least two months prior to conception in order for all traces to be out of my system, lest our child be born a horrifying mutant.

Somehow this made it even more important that all of the above conditions be met-  if we had to plan it, it better be perfect, right?

But as time went on, I began to realize that this list, this checklist of Conditions That Must Be Met Before Bringing A Child Into The World, was completely unrealistic. It was never going to happen. And if it did it wouldn’t be for five or ten more years and what were we doing in the meantime?

Waiting. Just waiting for that perfect storm.

So instead of continuing to wait, I did an uncharacteristic thing for me, I decided we just needed to jump in feet first and make it work. And so far (fingers crossed) it has.

We didn’t sell Adam’s business exactly, but it did change hands and the situation has resolved itself in a way that has benefited everyone.

We don’t own a home, but we have managed to save a decent amount that will enable us to do this sometime in the future.

We haven’t moved, we don’t live any closer to my mom. But there are boats and cars and buses for a reason, right? And there’s nothing stopping a move like this from happening somewhere down the road.

We don’t have debt, not personally anyway. Our car is paid off, credit cards carry zero balance. And most months we do have money in the bank after everything is accounted for (until I start looking around on Etsy anyway 😉 )

And finally, we didn’t travel much, not as much as I wanted to, but we went to Hawaii, Mexico, Calgary and a million other smallish trips here and there. I don’t regret a thing.

This miles-long preamble is to present you with the following list, which is a compendium of what we have spent since finding out I was pregnant. I kept track of this because the dollars and cents of having a baby was always one of those things I worried about prior to conceiving – how much would it all cost?

In addition to all of the circumstantial factors, I also worried about financial ones – how could I not? I wanted to be able to take a year off to be with the baby – would we be able to afford to live on one income? And what about all of the STUFF babies seemed to need?  How much does a new baby cost?

Over the last eight months I’ve come to view baby stuff in the same way I viewed wedding stuff – there’s a lot of hype, you don’t need half of it and the moment the word “wedding” or “baby” is slapped on something, suddenly you find yourself paying two or three times as much for something you’ll only use for a short period of time.

With this in mind, and because I try and make eco-friendly choices whenever possible, we made the decision early on to buy secondhand wherever possible.

For some things (like a crib mattress, or nursing bras) buying secondhand wasn’t an option I even entertained, in others (like the carseat) Adam and I disagreed about whether to buy new or not, but in most scenarios it worked out incredibly well and we sometimes ended up finding things for less than 10% of what they would cost new, as well as doing a small part to stop the consumer waste cycle by giving perfectly good baby stuff another go round.

So, BEHOLD! How much it might cost to ready your life for an adorably tiny screaming creature if you are cheap, or a hippie, or both:

Items Purchased New

Organic Crib Mattress:  $270.00
Sheets x2:                   $13.00
Maternity Clothes:        $50.00
Not-A-Nursery Decor:   $35.00
Belly creams:               $100.00
Nursing pads (Etsy):     $20.00
Change pad cover:       $10.00
Wet Bags x2 (Etsy):     $50.00
Car detailing:               $135

Items Purchased Used

Crib:                          $50.00
Peg Perego Carseat:    $120.00
Carseat infant insert:   $5.00
Cloth Diapers:             $180.00
Baby Clothing:            $200.00
Change pad:               $10.00
Dresser & Re-do:         $100.00
10 Receiving blankets: $5.00
Swaddles x2:              $8.00
Ergo carrier:               $75.00

Gifted Items From Family/Friends

Magical vibrating/rocking baby chair, cloth diapers, bassinet, rocking chair, Not-A-Nursery wall art, diaper bag, misc. clothes/toys/adorable knitted things.

Misc. : $150 

(this category is here for things I’ve forgotten to record – I tried to be pretty good at keeping track of purchases, but I’d rather over-estimate than under, so I added $150 to be safe)

Grand Total: $1596.00

I’m pretty happy with this amount. To be honest, I always thought it would cost multiple thousands of dollars to baby up your life – and it’s probably very easy to come close if you’re buying $500 cribs and brand new onesies at twenty bucks a pop. And to be honest, there’s plenty of indulgences in my list that I could’ve done without if I was on a tight budget or wanted to cut down even more (e.g. Car detailing, ridiculously expensive organic belly butter, organic crib mattress rather than normal one etc).

So, lesson learned, with a little effort baby stuff can come cheap!

If you want to buy secondhand, Craigslist/Kijiji is your best friend, as are local Baby Buy and Sell groups on Facebook. Babies use things for 3-6 weeks max, so clothing is always in mint condition, and between these two resources I was able to find all of what we needed in great used condition. It was also a really good way to meet other moms and find out what worked for them, get recommendations on baby services in town etc.

Now you know my life! Questions? Comments? How much did you spend for baby? Am I missing anything?

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(via jaclynday)

One of the many, many reasons I am grateful to live in this beautiful country of ours.

(Well, this and poutine)

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and baby makes three

(No mom I’m not pregnant. And please don’t comment on this post telling me to DO IT ALREADY! either)

I don’t know whether to have a baby or not. I mean, I know I want to have a baby or two or three or even FOUR! But it’s a matter of when, of how. Every time I contemplate this decision and whether the timing is right, whether we should wait, I can hear a chorus of middle aged women sipping coffee and saying conspiratorially “You can never really plan for a baby, dear” and “Honestly honey whatever time you choose will be the right time” . For some reason they have the raspy, certain voices of hardened cigarette smokers and I am afraid to disobey them, but middle-aged cigarette smokers be damned, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. It just took me three months of obsessive searching to find a shower curtain I liked. A SHOWER CURTAIN. So, obviously some deliberation is in order.

I thought about opening it up to a poll, but then my mum would be forced to lurk on my site frantically counteracting any “No” vote by voting “Yes” twice and how could I do that to her? I’m sure she has other, better things to do with her time. Like turning 58 tomorrow. Or evicting otters from her floating house.

So naturally I do what I always do and I research. I get a stack of books from the library; anthologies filled with women’s essays about childbirth, challenges of  balancing work and children and one charming book called “How to Babyproof Your Marriage”. I picked up this doozy, and all of the others, because I want desperately to know what we are getting into by any means necessary. This obsessive compulsive researching behaviour is much like it was before we got Gus, when I trolled  message boards filled with hysterical dog owners writing all capitals posts about the shit their horrible dogs were doing, because by preparing myself for these events, my logic goes, I shall prevent them from ever, ever happening to me.

(How’s that working for me you ask? Well if you had asked me two years ago as my 120 lb idiot teenaged dog took off running and barking after a toddler and scared him so much that he FELL OFF HIS TRICYCLE I would have said it’s not working very well at all why would you ask me that can’t you see I’m upset enough already? A TRICYCLE! But lately, with my older, calmer, sweeter dog I say SUCCESS! My obsessive research paid off!)

The book about baby-proofing your marriage is written in that cutesy “Hey girlfriend!” style that I loathe. I don’t know how to explain it except by saying that the tone combines a chipper, throw your hands in the air, boys-will-be-boys amirite ladies? type jokery that sets my teeth on edge. One of the most hyped suggestions in this book was The Five Minute Fix. They kept referring to it over and over: The Five Minute Fix is a lifesaver! The Five Minute Fix saved my marriage!

Intrigued I skipped ahead and discovered that The Five Minute Fix consists of giving your husband a blow job so he will change the diaper/mow the lawn/take out the garbage without being asked.

…..? I don’t know where to start with that one so I’ll just add that they also thoughtfully provided  a cost/benefit analysis spreadsheet for The Five Minute Fix (because nothing says sexy like cold hard logic) I kid you not the first item was “Cost: Potential loss of dignity”. AMIRITE LADIES?

So, book discarded the research continued, this time with my best friend Google. I googled “What do you wish you did before having kids?”, “What do you wish you knew before having kids?” and even “I regret having kids.” . With the latter search I discovered forums  dedicated to Childfree advocates. After taking some time to educate myself about this choice,  I started reading and was absolutely stunned by the vitriol with which posters spoke about those who have children.

Obviously I am only reading the opinions of a small and vocal minority within the Childfree movement but the vicious us/them dichotomy seemed totally unreal. There seemed to be a complete dehumanization of those who decide to have kids, referring to them as “Breeders”. There were posts mocking parents whose children had died and blasting those who were having issues with fertility (Don’t you think this is a sign that nature didn’t mean for you to have children? GET OVER IT.)

I mean I get it, all the  “When are you guys going to start a family *wink wink*” queries can get exasperating even when you are eventually planning to take that step. I can only imagine how infuriating it must be to be to have to constantly justify your choice to friends and family that may be less than supportive and a  society that seems all-consumed with everything Baby. But shit, can’t we all just get along?

I got lost in that quagmire for a bit and then I started lurking on forums for new mothers and with this I think I scared myself into childlessness for another year. Never again do I want to read about vaginal tears and hemorrhoids and sore nipples, new fathers who don’t help and nosey mother-in-laws that make you feel inadequate. Also did you know that stroller envy is a thing? How is this a thing?

There’s no point to this ramble except that it gives a fairly accurate representation of the thoughts in my head surrounding this subject. The only thing left to add is how all of these fears and doubts and opinions are completely and utterly silenced when I hold a baby and smell it’s tiny downy head, or watch as she focuses her eyes on mine and smiles, or when I imagine what our child would look like – thick dark hair and his smile.

                 

At that point I think “You can never really plan for a baby. Whenever we decide to do this will be the right time.” And then I have a cigarette.